Last week, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced the extension of targeted measures for the tourism sector
. This includes moving from broad-based support provided during the height of the lockdowns to more targeted measures for businesses that are still facing significant pandemic-related challenges.
Funding includes two new streams:
- Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, to a number of sectors within the tourism industry, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
- Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, which would provide support through the wage and rent subsidy programs to support other businesses that have faced deep losses, with a subsidy rate of up to 50 per cent.
Applicants for these programs will use a new “two-key” eligibility system whereby they will need to demonstrate significant revenue losses over the course of 12 months of the pandemic, as well as revenue losses in the current month. These programs will be available until May 7, 2022, with the proposed subsidy rates available through to March 13, 2022. From March 13, 2022, to May 7, 2022, the subsidy rates will decrease by half.
The Canada Recovery Hiring Program will also be extended to May 7, 2022, for eligible employers with current revenue losses above 10 per cent, with an increase in the subsidy rate to 50 per cent.
While we are very pleased with this program, we still have many questions, including exact definitions of which businesses are able to apply for this support. We are actively working to get answers from Finance and will share with membership as soon as possible.
Proof of Vaccination
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that, in partnership with the provinces and territories, a standardized proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be available to all Canadians. Canada is also engaging with international partners to obtain recognition and acceptance abroad, so that this can be used to help facilitate travel around the world.
This will provide a reliable and secure way for Canadians to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination history. This standardized proof will support Canada’s new traveler vaccination requirements that will come into effect on October 30, 2021. Travellers can continue to use their provincial proof of vaccination for domestic or international travel if their province is not yet issuing the standardized proof of vaccination.
TIAC has been underscoring that this program maintain consistency in each province and territory and have urged the federal and provincial / territorial governments to work collaboratively over the past months.
TIAC also believes that it will be critical that Canada plan for vaccines outside of those currently approved in North America. Top tourism markets for Canada have different vaccine compositions that we need to consider in our COVID screening processes, or we risk losing a huge piece of our visitor potential to other destinations.
We look forward to the roll out of the piece and its role in ensuring a seamless travel experience moving forward.
We have been pushing to see a change in the current narrative on behalf of the industry. We need positive language and messaging. Travelers, both domestically and internationally, must feel confident in our proof of vaccine and testing requirements and procedures – if they are going to choose Canada as a destination. This is why we were so pleased to see, just last week, that Ottawa has lifted the non-essential travel advisory for fully vaccinated Canadians. This is a big step to restoring Canadians’ confidence.